March 8, 2017
Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
— Matthew 11:28
Perhaps you have read some of my journals or have seen our television programs about the village of Sapaterre, the Land of Bon Bon Tè. We have visited these wonderful people several times this past year. We held a crusade there in February of 2016, and we had promised that we would return with our Mobile Medical Clinic. We had to postpone that trip because of Hurricane Matthew. We finally were able to hold our Mobile Medical Clinic in November 2016.
Let me tell you a little bit about this area of Haiti and the village of Sapaterre. This village is located up in the mountains about 20 miles from the much larger town of Hinche, in the Central Plateau region of Haiti. By looking at an aerial image of Sapaterre, you would never know that hidden within those beautiful rolling hills, is the land of mud cookies.
This area also includes the beautiful Bassin Zim, a little-known treasure of Haiti, which sits along the Central Plateau about five miles away from Hinche. It contains waterfalls, coves, and caves. This area is popular with tourists as well. We visited this area recently when we held the Mobile Medical Clinic in Sapaterre.
The waterfalls tumble down in brilliant streams to four turquoise coves below: Candelabra, Arc-en-Ciel, Bassin Zim, and Wells. Embedded within each cove are groups of caves lined with mineral rocks. Some contain artwork by the indigenous Taino Indians before immigration and colonization began. Our Love A Child team took some time out to visit this natural wonder.
We visited this area several times in 2016. In January we brought boxes of food to these poor people to start the process of getting to know the Haitian community here. Over time we discovered that part of this area had at one time been part of the sugar industry. Many of the people still speak Spanish, and some still cut cane in the local sugarcane fields.
Their main industry is now making Bon Bon Tè (mud cookies). It’s hard to imagine that just one hour and forty-five minutes from the shores of Miami, there are so many poor children in Haiti who “work very hard making Bon Bon Tè” to eat and to sell to other hungry children. This is not God’s will. The Lord wants us to feed these hungry children He has put in our path, so they will never have to eat “mud cookies” again. Pray about helping us “feed the children.”
We held a crusade at the end of February 2016, and so many people came to the Lord. A month later we returned to Sapaterre to give out food, new clothes and Bibles to the new converts from our crusade. The Bibles we gave out were the first Bibles they have ever owned in their lives!
As we got to know these amazingly strong people here, we knew that we needed to build a church for them. Bobby, David and I went to look at some land, and we made the deal to buy it and build a new church, which will later become a school. What a beautiful piece of land! Thank you, Joseph and Peter, for scouting out and finding the property. It will be a great blessing to the people and the youth of this area. We were so blessed to learn a donor family supplied the $50,000 for this project! Praise the Lord! Special thanks to our partner David George and “his partners,” who gave and wish not to have their names mentioned! This church was so exciting for these wonderful people and for us.
We had promised these people that we would come back to hold a Mobile Medical Clinic in October and had paved the way to bring in a team of medical professionals when Hurricane Matthew hit Haiti on October 4th. So our initial plans had to be changed, but we came back about a month later to hold the first clinic for this area, and people started coming from all the surrounding areas of Sapaterre.
The people in this area cannot afford to see a doctor, nurse or have any professional medical care. This clinic was a huge success. We treated thousands of Haitians, and they were all so thankful that our volunteer team was in their village. Thank you, partners for helping us provide medical care in the “Regions Beyond.”
When we go into a remote area for a Mobile Medical Clinic, we see so many people that we often wondered what drew us to this particular village. On this trip, we came to know a few special cases that revealed to us why we came to Sapaterre.
This is Kevinson and he is 16-years-old. He came to our Mobile Medical Clinic with a severe case of Impetigo, a highly contagious skin condition on his feet. It had been like this for six years since he was ten! By the time he came to our clinic, it was the worst case I had ever seen. Thanks to my friend and helper Evie Ostrander who worked with me in wound care and to all the wonderful volunteers who worked many, many hours to help these precious people.
This poor, poor boy was in so much pain as we tried to scrub his feet and ankles to remove as much of the crusty layer of the infection to get down to the raw skin.
When we finished cleaning the entire infected area, we gave him special medicine that we made by hand. We showed his mother how to wash his feet a couple of times a day, and then apply the medication. Look at his feet now, just after two days! His mom had tears in her eyes. He is just “one” of those that received excellent medical care and prayer.
One of our most troubling cases was a nine-year-old boy named Roberto. He was playing with another child and each had a stick of sugarcane. Roberto got hit in the eye with the sugarcane and a piece got lodged in his eye and then became infected.
By the time he came to our Mobile Medical Clinic, he was blind in that eye and suffering EXTREME PAIN. His mother had no money for a doctor. We couldn’t even get any drops in his eye to relieve some of the pain.
Days after the clinic, we sent him to several eye surgeons and then found the best eye doctor in Haiti. The doctor said they needed to remove his eye immediately. We sent him to Petit Freak Se Hospital and paid for his surgery, and hopefully, he will receive a prosthetic eye. The doctor told us that if we had not brought him in for surgery, the infection would have gone to his brain and killed him. Thank God for Mobile Medical Clinics!
We are now seeking a doctor in the United States who would be able to provide a prosthetic eye for him, and he also needs a host family. His mother (who was not a Christian) was so moved by what we had done in the name of the Lord that she came to church and gave her heart to Jesus! It is the “goodness of God that leads men to repentance.” Without our Mobile Medical Clinics that go into the “Regions Beyond,” this young boy would have died needlessly.
Our clinics bring not only life-saving care to so many Haitians, but we also serve the people who have no access to medical care, often for the most common of ailments. This cute little girl made our days in Sapaterre so worthwhile, and this happy face brought pure joy to all of our medical team and volunteers after several grueling days in the remote mountains of Haiti.
During our time in Sapaterre, we were able to offer several of the women paid jobs cooking a lot of food for our team and their village. These people need jobs and are willing to work very hard. Making mud cookies to earn money and feed their children should not be how the people of this village survive. We hope to establish sponsored sustainable programs that will bring jobs for the women of Sapaterre soon.
We are so grateful to all the people who volunteer their time to come to Haiti and work in our Mobile Medical Clinics. Each village has its challenges, but we have a special place in our hearts for the precious people of Sapaterre. As Debbie Click says, “How can you not want to come help these people when they are only an hour-and-forty-five minutes away from the United States? I will return often, as long as there is a need here to reach out to these wonderful people. May God forgive us for the things we have not done.”
The beauty of Sapaterre and its people, who are so gracious and have come to trust us in their lives, opens a new area for us to bring the Gospel and teach the love of Jesus. Please prayerfully consider volunteering with one of our Mobile Medical Clinics or contribute to our Feeding Programs, Child Sponsorship Program or many other opportunities here in Haiti. This is a beautiful country, with beautiful people. You can make such a difference in their lives!
You may give securely online or call our office at 239-210-6107 and let a staff member know that you want to help.